12 Most Compelling Reasons to Tell Your Story in Business

12 Most Compelling Reasons to Tell Your Story in Business

Do you love a good story? Have you ever been suckered into a movie when it was well past your bedtime? Or spent hours glued to a book because you just wanted to know how it ends?

Human beings are storytelling machines. We cannot resist a good story. You can harness the power of your story and your business story to create a memorable message. Now more than ever, you need to be telling stories in your business so that your message sticks.

Here are the 12 most compelling reasons to tell your story in business:

1. Standout

Let’s face it, there are thousands of accountants, graphic designers, chiropractors, life coaches, massage therapists or <insert your occupation here>. What makes you stand out from all of these other small businesses? Your story. It makes you unique.

2. Showcase your personality

Your story showcases your personality. Is your business friendly, light-hearted and approachable? Is your business personality serious and professional? Your story is the voice of your business. It sets the tone. If you showcase your personality and unique voice, you’ll attract the clients that you are beyond-jazzed to work with.

3. Getting to know you

The story of you and your business lets prospective clients feel like they know you. The first step in establishing trust is letting potential clients establish a relationship with you.

4. Invoke emotion

As the venerable Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Stories invoke emotion. Sure, people won’t remember all of the details, but they sure will remember feeling good after hearing your story.

5. Vulnerability

No one likes a perfect, know-it-all guru who can leap business problems in a single-bound. Your story shows your vulnerability. It makes you a real person entirely made of human-parts. It’s easier to relate to someone who is flawed just like the rest of us.

6. Lessons from mistakes

Ever noticed how fairy tales and fables have some kind of moral? No journey is perfect, and clients like to know about the mistakes you made along the way because they can avoid them in the future.

6. What’s your point of view?

Your story highlights your unique point of view and philosophy on how you approach your business. Write a manifesto or mission statement highlighting that point of view. How do you do business that is different than everyone else in your niche?

7. Engage your clients’ brains

Stories fire up our mirror neurons. Have you ever got lost in a book for hours on end? You felt like you were a part of the story. You were sad when it was over because you missed the characters. Stories engage our brains, so that a story told well makes your clients feel like it’s happening to them. They see themselves in your story. This inspires the “heck, yeah — this business is for me” response!

8. Showcase your “why”

Clients don’t buy until they know your “why.” Tell us why you are a small business on a mission. Your ideal clients want to know what makes you so passionate about your business.

9. Tell the stunning results

It’s not enough to hear about ROI investment or other statistics about how successful your product or service is. In addition, talk about the transformation you’ve seen in your clients as a result of working with you. Statistics plus story are a powerful combination.

10. Stories disarm and charm

Psychologists Melanie Green and Tim Brock argue that the way your brain processes stories is radically different from how it understands facts. Statistics, facts and science engage critical thinking. Stories disarm and charm the listener into putting down his or her defenses. In business, you can’t argue with a good story — it’s persuasive.

11. Highlight your expertise

There is a vital need to establish your expertise, authority and credibility in business. Most business owners state their many degrees, grand achievements, and hallowed accolades like they were making a list of what to get at the grocery store! Turn that list into a story that highlights your struggle and achievements. It’s more memorable and interesting to your potential clients.

12. Don’t underestimate the power of your story

Far too many times I hear from my clients, but “I’m just a {insert occupation}.” They underestimate their story and the impact it makes on their clients. You don’t have to be Oprah, Richard Branson or Tony Robbins to tell your story! Your story has power to impact the people who hear it. If your business serves and helps people, we deserve to hear your story.

Storytelling allows you to highlight your expertise, build trust, and makes you stand out. If your business is not telling its story currently, it is time to start mining all of your experiences and client stories to broadcast your brilliance to the world. Remember, it’s your story — tell it well.

What business do you think uses storytelling well? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Featured image courtesy of most uncool licensed via Creative Commons.

Dr. Michelle Mazur


Speech Coach and Presentation Skills Trainer, Dr. Michelle Mazur, guides driven-to-succeed business professionals and independent business owners to ignite the smoldering fire within to speak up, speak out and make their impact — one compelling presentation at a time. Clients get noticed, promoted and paid more by overcoming their reluctance and learning to speak with authenticity and confidence, no matter how big or small their audience. To learn her proven approach to get ready for opportunity now — visit her website.

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Julie Barnes aka The Empowerment Ninja
Julie Barnes aka The Empowerment Ninja

Great post Michelle! For me...  a person's story is very important. That's the first thing I look for when deciding to work with any entrepreneur / business. Not the credentials... which are great and important, but it's the person's story and "why" that draws me in. 


Telling your story usually works for retail.  I've been sold clothing just because the retail associate takes the time to tell me a story.  I remember one clerk who had his nametag on upside down.  When I told him, he said he knew the tag was upside down, told me it was upside down on purpose and that it was a conversation starter.  That particular clerk didn't sell me anything, but was very helpful.  I remember him and, if I'm in that particular store, will seek him out whenever I will make a purchase.  Simply put, people are social creatures and, if you show an interest in them, will show an interest in you.


Great post Michelle. I think I'm right is saying that this was how Lee Glickstein ('Be Heard Now!), changed his total fear of giving presentations to being something he loved...



I enjoyed this list and I agree! I'm drawing a blank on companies that tell stories well BUT a friend of mine has experience with a company that has provided directed, specific, and timely customer service (they got him a needed replacement part on the Appalachian Trail) and I have to believe that in part that commitment comes from their history and providing that service is part of their story -- ENO Hammocks. http://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com/ABUS.html 


@Michelle_Mazur , thanks for this inspiring list! I have struggled with story from day one, at least when it comes to public speaking. As #6 says, it's vulnerable! For one presentation, I decided to experiment and lead with a personal story, and one attendee wrote on a feedback form: "I thought I was listening in on a therapy session." Ouch! I know it wasn't quite that extreme (I never shared inappropriately!), but it was enough to scare me off a bit. It's relatively easy for me to be vulnerable through stories in writing or small groups, so I want to learn how to transfer that ease to the presentation stage (without it sounding like therapy ;-)). 

 For me, your point #12 is the bottom line - trusting that my experience is interesting, and that it's a much more compelling way to make a point than relying on stats or quotes from other people!


@Julie Barnes aka The Empowerment Ninja Thank you Julie! For me, when I'm working with clients - it's important to weave your story. People want to know your why before they buy from you. Your story does that for them. It makes us likable and relatable which I agree draws potential clients in!


@jemoore44 I know that stories in retail work on me. It's a great persuasion technique. It tells us that the person has experience with the product and loves it. Story is a great way to start a conversation. Thank you for your comment!


@mphcoach I can see how this would be useful in dealing with the fear of speaking. It makes it easier to talk about something you know really well. What do you know better than your story? Thank you for your comment!


@BethBuelow The trick to telling a personal story in speaking is to make it relevant to the audience. A great way to do this by asking the audience a question related to the core takeaway message. I did a talk on loneliness about a year ago. I asked the audience if they ever felt like they just didn't fit in. Bam! I had them. They were thinking about their own experience as I told my story. 

#12 is key. Too many people underestimate the power of their story and their experience. A story allows you to interject yourself and make the statistics and quotes that much more interesting!